Not on the allotment as it is all shipshape still, that is the great thing about this time of year, the weeds have stopped growing. Today I was in the garden. I am planning a major hack back and dig up before the spring as the shrubs have all got huge and the clumps of crocosmia are out of control. I have so many young plants, cuttings and chunks of perennials that I have acquired from my customers gardens for my own, I just need to make room for them.
Outside the conservatory is a large Buddleia, Philadelphis and a Photinia 'red robin', al of which had grown into one another and were towering over the conservatory roof. Now I ask you, what is the point of having flowers and scent all the way up there when I am just a little shorty 5 foot 3 inches? So, the Bud and Philly have been cut right down to 6 inches from the ground but the Photinia has just been thinned and cut back towards the fence. I started this several weeks back and already there are lovely new, bright pink shoots emerging so I am now confident in cutting it back even more. I am a little nervous at being so bold as it will open the garden up and we will loose our privacy for a year, but it will let so much more light into the beds, and hopefully I will be able to keep the shrubs under control so they don't get out of hand again.
Next to the Photinia is a Ceanothus which is very old and woody but it does give a lovely show of electric blue flowers. It hasn't liked the last few cold winters and has suffered with some die back, but I have been pruning this out over this year and it has lots of new growth, so I am ignoring this particular shrub.
Underneath these large plants are alsorts of smaller perennials, grasses, ground cover plants and bulbs like pulmanaria, bugle, iris, crocosmia, asters, kniphofia, cyclamen, roses, etc. Some of these will be moved around, some split, and some chucked out, like the darn crocosmia. They aren't special varieties, just the old fashion monbretia type and they are thugs and the foliage is messy and smothers everything around them, so I am gradually removing the clumps. I will leave some where they are tucked away, but this particular bed is the only sunny area, so I want to get in lots of colourful perennials. After lifting the crocosmia I moved a small hibiscus plant to the back of the border and also planted a small forsythia cutting into the back and then planted a large drift of apricot coloured foxgloves. I also planted a load more daff bulbs and some imperial fritilaria.
By now the brown wheelie bin and trailer were full and the afternoon was leaning towards the evening so I down tools and poured myself a glass of wine and threw some more wood into the chimnea. I hope to continue pottering during the next few weeks whenever I have the chance as I want to thin out the bugle and pulmanaria and get some of my heucheras in.
On the allotment front, the only thing I have done up there during the last couple of weeks is plant 20 young winter hardy lettuce plantlets and pick several sacks full of apples.
As for the quaily birds, they have now pretty much stopped laying for the winter and have become very quiet and lazy. The boys have lost their sex drive, much to the relief of the girls and they are all hunkering down into the layers for straw to keep snug.
The tortoises are preparing themselves for hibernation. Travis, our Hermans, doesn't hibernate, never has and the vet told us not to attempt it as he been kept in a heated viv all of his life - until he came into our lives. He has been out with Tom and Bertha in the garden all summer, but now the temperature has dropped, he has been sent to Coventry and is back in the heated viv for the winter. Tom and Bertha, our adopted Greek spur thighed are spending a week in the conservatory to make sure their digestive tracts are clear by not eating and allowing them to shit all over the conservatory floor. They will then be packed away into insulated boxes to spend the winter in the garage, sleeping until late spring wakes them with a kiss.
Dear reader, I will now depart to try and remove some of the splinters I managed to get into my hands today whilst untangling stray brambles from my Pittosporum.